Americans to battle buldge with calorie counts in unlikely places

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Indy Lifestyle Online

On August 24, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced guidelines to advise food chains on the March 2010 law requiring federal nutrition labeling and calorie counts. 

The FDA explained the "new federal requirements for nutrition labeling" are "for foods sold at certain chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments," clarifying that "establishments with 20 or more locations may be affected."

Margaret Hamburg, MD, FDA Commissioner, said "One of the most important things we can do when it comes to the nation's health is to provide simple basic information to the American people so they can make choices that are best for them and their family," and noted "The menu labeling program will help Americans get the facts about food choices that are available to them in restaurants and vending machines so they know what is in the food and can make healthier selections."

On August 31, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that by December "the FDA plans to make official who is covered, and how" - as it appears other than restaurants, "airlines, trains, grocery-store food courts, movie theaters and convenience stores that qualify as chains" will have to start sharing nutritional info with patrons.  Also under consideration are "salad bars, store bakeries, pizza bars and delicatessens" in grocery stores and certain vending machine products.

To count your calories before the December law takes effect, take a look at the FDA online tool: http://www.newcaloriecounter.com/articles/goverment/fda/food_and_drug_administration.jsp or these iPhone and iPad apps: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (free), Tap & Track -Calorie, Weight & Exercise Tracker (€2.99) and via US-based iTunes app store Fast Food Calorie Counter ($0.99).

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